Tom Bakaly, CEO of the Beach Cities Health District, was named “Man of the Year” alongside KTLA meteorologist Vera Jimenez, who was named “Woman of the Year” by the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce at its 115th Community Awards last month.
“Alongside” is a misnomer, as Bakaly was ill and unable to attend the awards luncheon, held Nov. 17 at Shade Hotel Redondo. BCHD staff members accepted the award on behalf of Bakaly.
Nominated by BCHD employees, Bakaly was singled out for the Health District’s efforts to assist the community throughout the last year, including establishing clinics for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, and providing meals and assistance for older adults in the community. BCHD was instrumental in working with local Chambers of Commerce – including Redondo Beach – to create the “Safe in the South Bay” program, which helped area businesses take the proper steps to ensure the health and safety of their staff and customers.
“Tom has been determined to help the community in every way possible since the beginning of the pandemic. His leadership led us to establish one of the first COVID-19 testing locations in the area and provide easy access to vaccines for South Bay elementary school students,” said Kerianne Lawson, Chief Programs Officer at BCHD. “Then we pivoted to working with the Chambers, and residents knew a ‘Safe in the South Bay’ decal in the window was a sign that business was taking the necessary steps to ensure a safe environment for all. Tom’s experience and guidance truly helped this community during a very difficult time.”
Prior to the pandemic, Bakaly was named “CEO of the Year” by the Association of California Healthcare Districts (ACHD) in 2019.
The Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce also presented a “Special Chairman Award” to Dr. Steven Keller, superintendent of the Redondo Beach Unified School District, who is retiring at the end of the year.
Other winners saluted by the Chamber include:
- Volunteer of the Year: Mary Hornickel, Melaleuca
- Chamber of Commerce Ambassador: Mark Van Vorman of Edward Jones
- City Employee of the Year: Andy Winje, city engineer
- Non-profit Business of the Year: The Redondo Beach Rotary
BCHD is an award-winning organization, a trend that has continued under Bakaly’s leadership. The District has been honored for:
- 2021 “Healthcare District of the Year” by ACHD
- Financial reporting (Government Finance Officers of the U.S. & Canada, California Society of Municipal Finance Officers)
- Transparency (Association of California Healthcare Districts, California Special Districts Association, GFOA)
- A “Best Place to Work” (Modern Healthcare, Los Angeles Business Journal, Outside Magazine)